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45th Anniversary a Success



The 45th Anniversary Red Deer Picnic and Hamfest was a huge success. There were 112 people registered.  On Saturday morning Radio World and other flea market vendors enjoyed selling new and used radios and accessories under a beautiful and sunny sky. Greg and Karen and Karen’s parents began the process of roasting of the pig at 3:00 AM! Thanks for your generous donation of the pig and all your time!  Everyone enjoyed the roasted pork and the pot luck dinner Saturday evening.  Following the meal we watched the 45th anniversary video produced by Vance VA6VAN. Thank you Vance, for editing the pictures and videos sent from numerous hams. The weather was great Sunday morning for the pancake breakfast, egg toss and the  draw prizes.

There were many people who helped in various ways to make our 45th anniversary hamfest and picnic a resounding success. A special thank you to Phyllis and the ladies from the 160 gang from Camrose for organizing the fun craft again this year!  Thank you everyone!

Bob King VE6BLD

CAARC President

Click pictures to see larger files

Picnic pic from RAKsmall

 

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Pixie II v5.1 40 m QRP xcvr Kit by Earl 4Z4TJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixie II v5.1 40 m QRP xcvr KitCapture

 

 

This small kit is a version of the old Pixie II, two transistor, direct-conversion CW “transceiver”.  Many Pixie IIs were made using Manhattan or dead bug technique.  Now a Chinese PCB version is available    on line at such a low price that you will say:

how can I not build this and try it on the air”.

In this application note I will share some of my experiences and suggestions regarding the kit.  The first question that occurred to me was:  “Is such a simple circuit effective as a communications device?”  The answer is yes, but with severe limitations.  In any event it is a fun project well worth the money.Capture4

The circuit is simple and mostly self-explanatory.  It incorporates some of the later mods developed for the Pixie II.  Q1 is a Colpitts crystal oscillator  using a reverse biased silicon rectifier as a varicap to pull the crystal frequency the 700 -800 Hz required to give a signal a pleasant tone when in receive mode.  This function also gives a small range RIT to clarify signals when listening. The frequency offset is adjusted with W1, the 47K potentiometer.

In transmit Q2 functions as a simple PA with a pi LPF output. This stage buffers the oscillator and increases power to several hundred mW. I measured 250 mW with a 9V supply, 500mW with a 12V supply (see photos).  General purpose 2N2222 type transistors are frequently used in Pixie II circuits.  I looked up the transistors supplied with the kit and was pleasantly surprised to find the kit manufacturers have gone to the effort of selecting components specific for local oscillator and power amplifier functions.

In receive, Q2 functions as the product detector in a direct conversion receiver with Q1 as the LO and U1 amplifying the detected audio to provide earphone volume. LSB as well as CW signals may be received.Capture5

Start construction by inserting 6-32 x ¾” hardware in each of the corner holes.  Head of the screw goes on the bottom (solder) side of the PCB.  Finger tighten.    These screws act as legs that allow the PCB to rest flat when soldering components.  If you plan to mount the PCB in a case this is the time to mark the mounting holes.

Solder the potentiometer and the socket for U1.  If you also wish to use this pot as a RIT use wires and a 47 K potentiometer mounted on the “front panel”.  Next solder the resistors, capacitors (polarity) and diodes (polarity) and inductors in that order.  Solder the transistors.  Solder the 3 mm stereo sockets the BNC antenna socket and the power socket.  I measured all the disc capacitors in the kit and found that they are 20%.  The inductors are also 20%.  I added a ferrite bead on the lead of L1 to bring the inductance up to the nominal value.  L2 was within 10% so I used it.  I was not happy about using -20% value capacitors in the LPF so I purchased 1% ceramic capacitors at the local components shop for 15 cents each.  It took about two minutes to wind a new 1 mH L2 inductor (15 t) on a T30-2 powdered iron (red) toroid. With the L/C meter attached I spread the windings till the exact value was found.  Fix the windings in place with a drop of glue.Capture6

Solder the 7.023 MHz crystal (you may wish to look in your junk box for a crystal that will put you on a QRP calling frequency; 7.030 in EU and 7.040 in North America).

Measure resistance across the power input.  Connect the 50 ohm 1 W composition resistor supplied with the kit or other dummy load to the antenna socket.   With a mA meter in series apply 9 – 12 V.  Current should be approximately 15 mA.  If it is much higher than 15 disconnect power immediately and check your work.  (D1 provides reverse polarity protection so a 500 mA fuse might be in order.)   Insert a Morse key in J3.  Listen for the oscillator on your station transceiver or connect scope probes across the antenna dummy load 51 ohm 1 W resistor supplied with the kit. Capture7

 

 

 

 

If the oscillator and PA are working as expected insert U1, connect headphones and a 40m antenna.  A 9V – 12 V battery works.

Phone another ham in your city and get him to zero beat your signal and then transmit.  Adjust the 47K trim pot for a pleasant tone.  You are on the air!

In the evening I connected a 9V battery, Air Canada complementary earphones and my 40m delta loop antenna.    CW stations from EU could be heard and tuned with potentiometer W1.

Now, where did I put that straight key that I used 40 years ago?

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CW chirp issues were solved by: 1) Preventing a change in voltage across the varicap, D2, when keying by keeping potentiometer W1 in the middle of its range. 2) Addition of a 22 uF 25V SMT chip capacitor on the bottom of the PCB, across the terminals of the power input socket.  To solder one side of the capacitor I scraped away some of the solder mask on the PCB — the other end went tight against the +ve lug of the power socket. (Check for shorts before applying power.)

RF power output with a 12 V supply was found to be 500 mW, as shown at left.  In addition, the higher supply voltage yields a waveform appearing closer to a clean sine wave, (photos above) generating fewer harmonics.

Note:  LPF:  I checked for 2nd and 3rd harmonics and they are easy to find within the shack.  I believe that higher quality components in the LPF will reduce harmonic radiation.  However, another ham in the same city could not hear the second harmonic (this is my spectrum analyzer equivalent test).   So, even with sub-optimum suppression, the second harmonic will be at a level of approximately 0 dbm – not a level that will wreak QRM havoc on 20m and 15m CW (second and third harmonics).

On the air results.

Hams within a 200 Km radius could hear the QRP CW signal.  After correcting the chirp issue reports were good.  Surprisingly the direct conversion receiver also let me hear them easily, so 2 way QSOs are definitely possible.  Listening on 40m just after dark let me hear most of the 40m CW band – all at once.  Stations could be peaked by adjusting the 47K trim pot. Where a few individual CW signals could be identified I found them on my FT-450 – surprisingly they were not S9+ signals but pretty ordinary S7 signals, indicating that the direct conversion receiver is quite sensitive.  Good sensitivity combined with poor selectivity effectively restricts 2-way communications use to daylight hours.  In spite of the receive limitation, it is pretty amazing that two way communications are possible with such simple, low cost equipment.

 

Conclusion

Lots of fun for the money!

To download this original article click this link

Pixie II v5 for caarc

 

2015 Raffle

Congratulations to our winners!

First prize winner of $500 cash, Jason Stangler. Ticket #147 sold by Stephan Lee.

Second prize winner of $200 cash, Jadyne Jacobs. Ticket #047 sold by Garry Jacobs.

MS Bike Tour 2015

I need volunteers to sign up for this year’s bike tour, August 29/30. Attached is the sign up sheet that shows the hours and a volunteer information sheet so you know what is expected of you. I don’t have any extra radios to loan out so if you don’t have the equipment needed please source that out yourself.

 

Sign up sheet

Volunteer information

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AD9850 DDS VFO By Earl Rubin 4Z4TJ

AD9850 DDS VFO
Earl Rubin 4Z4TJ
While shopping on line I came across a AD9850 DDS Signal Generator Module (http://www.banggood.com/AD9850-DDS-Signal-Generator-Module-0-40MHz-IC-Test-Equipment-p-915819.html ) and, of course had to have it. After it arrived I started to look at the possible applications and came across Richard’s website: http://www.ad7c.com/projects/ad9850-dds-vfo/ . I believe that this is a good module to work with because they are widely available on eBay at low price, there are many on line descriptions, you-tube videos and other information….Please click the following link for the full article

AD9850 DDS VFO 1

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Easy prototyping of PCB boards By Earl Rubin 4Z4TJ

Easy prototyping of PCB boards
Looking for a way to easily make “Manhattan” style PCB breadboards I re-discovered the “Islander” – see reference 2 below, but was unsuccessful in finding a way to purchase one. Then I found Andy Davies’ You-Tube video describing his home made land cutter. Not wanting to wait for a ¼” drill bit to break of its own accord, I sacrificed the dullest 7 mm bit in my drill box.
First I clamped the bit horizontally into…Please click the following blue link for the complete article

Easy prototyping of PCB boards

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RFI considerations when converting to LED lighting By Earl Rubin 4Z4TJ

RFI considerations when converting to LED lighting
By Earl Rubin, VA6TJ
I installed my new LED ceiling fixture in my shack. The light fixture consists of a flat panel of LEDs mounted in an aluminum frame that also contains a small switching power supply..  Before installing the new light fixture I thought it might be a good idea to check RFI on HF….

Please click the blue link below to download the complete article

AD9850 DDS VFO 1

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NEW TIME FOR MONDAY EVENING CAARC NET

Please note it was decided at the May general meeting to change the Monday evening  CAARC net from 8.30 to 8.00PM.  on a trial basis.

Net controllers please take note!

Next CAARC Meeting

Please note the next CAARC General meeting will be held on September 16. We do not hold meetings in June, July or August.

  • Calendar

    July  2015
    SMTWTFS
     1234
    Events on July 4, 2015
    • Koffee Klatch Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
      Starts: 10:00 am
      Ends: July 4, 2015 - 12:00 pm
      Location: North end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer
      Description: Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave,
      Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
    5
    Events on July 5, 2015
    • ARES Net on the CAARC repeater system
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 5, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Location: VE6QE 147.150MHz
      Description: Weekly Amateur Radio Emergency Services check in net
    6
    Events on July 6, 2015
    • CAARC 2 Meter NET Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+ repeater.,VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.210 -, VE6UK 145.25 -...
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 6, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Description: Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+, repeater VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.21-, VE6UK 145.25-
    7891011
    Events on July 11, 2015
    • Koffee Klatch Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
      Starts: 10:00 am
      Ends: July 11, 2015 - 12:00 pm
      Location: North end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer
      Description: Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave,
      Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
    12
    Events on July 12, 2015
    • ARES Net on the CAARC repeater system
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 12, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Location: VE6QE 147.150MHz
      Description: Weekly Amateur Radio Emergency Services check in net
    13
    Events on July 13, 2015
    • CAARC 2 Meter NET Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+ repeater.,VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.210 -, VE6UK 145.25 -...
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 13, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Description: Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+, repeater VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.21-, VE6UK 145.25-
    1415161718
    Events on July 18, 2015
    • Koffee Klatch Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
      Starts: 10:00 am
      Ends: July 18, 2015 - 12:00 pm
      Location: North end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer
      Description: Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave,
      Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
    19
    Events on July 19, 2015
    • ARES Net on the CAARC repeater system
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 19, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Location: VE6QE 147.150MHz
      Description: Weekly Amateur Radio Emergency Services check in net
    20
    Events on July 20, 2015
    • CAARC 2 Meter NET Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+ repeater.,VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.210 -, VE6UK 145.25 -...
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 20, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Description: Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+, repeater VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.21-, VE6UK 145.25-
    2122
    Events on July 22, 2015
    • testing by Bob
      Starts: 12:00 am
      Ends: July 23, 2015 - 12:00 am
      Location: Lacombe, AB, Canada
    232425
    Events on July 25, 2015
    • Koffee Klatch Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
      Starts: 10:00 am
      Ends: July 25, 2015 - 12:00 pm
      Location: North end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave, Red Deer
      Description: Local hams meet at the north end A&W in Red Deer .#58, 6320-50th Ave,
      Red Deer on Mon Wed Friday and Saturday mornings around ten o’clock, everyone is very welcome. Listen to VE6QE 147.150 -600 for directions and more info
    26
    Events on July 26, 2015
    • ARES Net on the CAARC repeater system
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 26, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Location: VE6QE 147.150MHz
      Description: Weekly Amateur Radio Emergency Services check in net
    27
    Events on July 27, 2015
    • CAARC 2 Meter NET Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+ repeater.,VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.210 -, VE6UK 145.25 -...
      Starts: 8:00 pm
      Ends: July 27, 2015 - 9:00 pm
      Description: Please check in to the CAARC net on VE6QE 147.150+, repeater VE6VHF 146.91-, VE6PZ 145.21-, VE6UK 145.25-
    28293031 
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